For the third time in club’s history, Jug won the Regional league. The water polo players of Jug defended the title by beating Jadran in the final game (15-3), in their home pool. Final Four was held in Dubrovnik. In the semifinals Jug defeated Partizan, Jadran was better than Mladost.
Jug was dominant in the final game, as well as during the whole season. The host demolished Jadran in the first half (8-1). They did an outstanding job in defense. The Montenegrins their first goal scored in the 2nd minute (1-1), but the second they waited until the 22nd minute (9-2). In the fourth period, Jug did not lose the right rhythm and the European champions celebrated the 15-3 win. Top scorer with five goals was left-handed Maro Jokovic.
Both finalists convincingly defeated their rivals in the semifinals.
In the first semifinal, Jug blew away Partizan (18-4). The young players from Belgrade their last goal scored 98 seconds before the end of the 2nd quarter (8-4). In the rest of the encounter, Jug staged a 10-0 rolling and celebrated the fourth win against Partizan this season.
This was their fifth meet in this season (they have clashed three times in the Regional league and two times in the Champions league). Partizan won just in the 14th round of the Regional league, in February (16-14). That was the single defeat of Jug in the Regional league this season.
The spectators have expected an interesting battle in the second semifinal, in the match between Jadran and Mladost. But, Jadran, led by Russian Danil Merkulov, led 10-2 already in the second minute of the 3rd quarter. The champions of Montenegro slowed down after they had gained an eight-goal advantage, but their win was never in danger. Mladost scored four goals in a row in the last five minutes of the game and decreased the gap (13-10). Nine seconds before the last whistle Radovic netted for a final score 14-10.
Xavi Garcia (Jug) was elected the MVP of the Final Four.
Only one Serbian club in A1 league 2017/18
Next season in A1 group of the Regional league will play six clubs from Croatia, three from Montenegro and only one from Serbia. That is another piece of the sad picture of water polo in Serbia, which has the best national team in the world. Serbian representative in A1 league 2017/18 will be only Partizan, because Vojvodina didn’t manage to keep its place. The team from Novi Sad was eliminated in play-out by POSK. The Croats won the match in Split (9-6). The encounter in Novi Sad ended in a 6-6 draw.
Final Four, Dubrovnik (March 30th – April 1st)
Jug CO (Croatia) – Jadran Carine, Herceg Novi (Montenegro) 15-3 (4-1, 4-0, 2-1, 5-1)
Jug: Jokovic 5, Fatovic 3, Perrone 2, Macan, Garcia, Markovic, Ivankovic, Obradovic.
Jadran: Merkulov, Banicevic, Petkovic
Jug CO (Croatia) – Partizan RF (Serbia) 18-4 (3-1, 6-3, 3-0, 6-0)
Jug: Garcia 3, Perrone 3, Fatovic 2, Loncar 2, Jokovic 2, Markovic 2, Vrlic 2, Macan, Benic.
Partizan: Repanovic 2, Drasovic 2.
Jadran Carine, Herceg Novi (Montenegro) – HAVK Mladost (Croatia) 14-10 (4-0, 4-2, 5-4, 1-4)
Jadran: Markulov 5, Vidovic 2, Banicevic 2, Ukropina, Popadić, Radovic, Petkovic, Pjesivac.
Mladost: Vlahovic 4, Lazic 4, Biljaka, Paskvalin.
Play-out, 2nd match
Vojvodina (Serbia) – POSK Split (Croatia) 6-6 (2-1, 0-3, 1-2, 3-0), first match 6-9
Vojvodina: Trkulja 3, Maksimovic, Sulc, Marceta.
POSK: Vukic 3, Butic 2, Bego.
REGIONAL LEAGUE HISTORY
2008/09 Jug (Croatia)
2009/10 Jadran (Montenegro)
2010/11 Jadran (Montenegro)
2011/12 Pro Recco (Italy)
2012/13 Primorje (Croatia)
2013/14 Primorje (Croatia)
2014/15 Primorje (Croatia)
2015/16 Jug (Croatia)
2016/17 Jug (Croatia)
The Regional league was created 2008, as the Adriatic league, with a participation of clubs from Croatia, Montenegro, and Slovenia. In the season 2011/12 Pro Recco joined the league and won the trophy, but they left the competition after that season. Serbian clubs have been included in the 2014/15 season when the name was changed to the Regional league. Clubs from Slovenia didn’t participate in the last two seasons.
In the season 2008/09 league was finished after the round-robin phase of the competition. Jug won the first trophy. Final four was introduced next season.